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Pav Bhaji – Mala Style





Ahhhh…pav bhaji…spicy, buttery, and filling. I just can’t get enough.

Pav Bhaji has very meager origins – as a melange of left over vegetables for a quick meal in the working class – and because of that, it’s generally very dense in carbs and calories. Pav Bhaji started out on the west coast of India (Gujarat and Maharashtra), and meager origins notwithstanding, this delectable street food can now be found all over India and enjoyed by almost all who taste it.

The words “Pav” and “Bhaji” literally translate to “Bread” and “Vegetables” but there’s a little bit more to it than that. Traditionally, with potatoes as a base and the liberal use of butter both in the Bhaji and all over the Pav, you can’t really call this dish healthy. However, I’ve made an attempt at slightly healthier version. Let me tell you a little about it.

When I was a kid, my idea of Pav Bhaji was quite different than what you’d find at the restaurants. My mom had adapted her Pav Bhaji recipe to be less homogenous in texture – I guess the family just didn’t like “mushy” foods – and this allowed us to see and feel the texture of the various vegetables in the dish. My recipe is a lot more like that. I’ve reduced the dollops of butter, added more veggies, and even made my own Pav (eggless bread). Check that recipe out…mmmm! If you prefer a more homogenous texture, just use your potato masher and mash the cooked vegetables until you get the texture you’d prefer. You may also want to add a tad bit more water. Voila!

Soooo, while my pav bhaji might not look traditional, it certainly tastes very good and it’s a little healthier too. (Just look at the nutrition facts below). Recently, I served it to my grandfather and parents and they’ve given this recipe their stamp of approval. I hope you do too! (Please review!)

PS – I was so eager to take these pics and start eating that I forgot to garnish the Pav Bhaji with onions and cilantro before scarfing. Definitely don’t forget that very important step when you recreate this.


Nutrition Facts
4 servings per container
Serving size

Amount per serving
Calories 251
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.7g 8%
Saturated Fat 1.9g 10%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 7.8mg 3%
Sodium 688mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 16%
Dietary Fiber 8.5g 29%
Total Sugars 11.6g
Includes g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 6g

Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 20mg 112%
Vitamin B-6 29%
Copper 11%
Folate 7%
Magnesium 13%
Manganese 23%
Niacin 10%
Phosphorus 12%
Thiamin 11%
Not a significant source of vitamin D, potassium, or add label9 here.

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
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2 tbs Butter
1 tbs Jeera (cumin seeds)
4 Whole Dried Chili Peppers
1 Vidalia Onion (finely chopped)
8 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 Bell Pepper (diced)
4 Roma Tomatoes (diced)
2.5 tbs Pav Bhaji Masala
1 tsp Chili Powder
Salt to Taste
3 Potatoes (microwaved with water or boiled to soften/cook before peeling and chopping)
15 Baby Carrots (chopped)
1/2 cup Frozen Peas
1/2 cup Red Onion (diced)
2+ tbs Coriander (Cilantro) (Chopped)
1 Lemon, cut in wedges
* Click to ingredient to choose one


Heat butter in a wok over medium-high heat.
Add jeera and when these splutter, add chilies.
Then add onions & garlic and saute for 4 minutes. Adjust heat so as not to burn or brown too much.
Add bell peppers and ginger paste and saute until onions are translucent and soft.
Add tomatoes and saute for 5 minutes (or until the butter glistens and separates a little)
Stir in masala, chili powder and salt and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes and carrots along with 1 cup of water. Bring mix to a boil and allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
When the potatoes and carrots are suitably tender, mash down the potatoes a little using a potato masher. If you're looking for a more "mumbai" or "traditional" style pav bhaji, mash these ingredients more. If you'd prefer to have more solids in the pav bhaji, then mash less. Keep an eye on the mix - if it appears too dry, add more water.
Stir in the peas. When these take on a bright hue, your pav bhaji is done.
Served garnished with red onion, coriander, a squirt of fresh lemon, and a drizzle of butter on top. Typically, I don't add the butter, but the butter does add a lot of good flavor! And don't forget to serve with delicious pav - buy that at the store or make it yourself.